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China to restore admission of pediatric undergraduates amid doctor shortage

By Ma Chi ( Updated: 2016-02-19 15:41

China to restore admission of pediatric undergraduates amid doctor shortage

A doctor sees a young patient in a clinic in Chiping county in Liaocheng city, East China's Shandong province. [Photo/IC]

China plans to restore the admission of pediatric undergraduates in universities to cater to the increasingly urgent demand for pediatricians after the country's only-child policy was loosened.

The National Health and Family Planning Commission announced on its website on Thursday that it "will join hands with the Ministry of Education to resume the admission of undergraduates in the pediatrics departments in universities" in 2016.

In 1998, the Ministry of Education closed all undergraduate pediatrics departments in the country's universities in order to adopt a more general medical education system. The decision greatly reduced the number of pediatric graduates.

According to the 2015 China Health Statistics Yearbook, there are only 43 pediatricians for every 100,000 children, compared with around 160 doctors for every 100,000 children in the US. And an investigation by the National Association of Pediatricians showed that China lacked 200,000 pediatricians, but only 5,000 pediatricians can be trained and begin practicing in the coming five years.

Long working hours and low pay are also blamed for medical students being unwilling to choose pediatrics – reports show that working hours for pediatricians in China are 1.48 times longer than the average working day for other physicians, but they only earn 46 percent the average salary for doctors.

As the government relaxed the national family planning policy this year, 90 million Chinese women will be allowed to have a second child, and an expected baby boom in coming years greatly increases the need for child care professionals.

A 40-year-old man in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang province who claimed to be a poet who was climbing the barren mountain in search of creative inspiration, somehow became stranded on a cliff on Thursday.

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